I am not really a space geek at all, but I have been fascinated by the stories about and from the latest NASA Mars Rover, Perseverance. I have been talking to everyone about the updates and showing them my favourite pictures from the website. I am also following the Perseverance on Twitter.
The scientific prowess that it took to create this machine is impressive, but I am also excited by the fact that the Twitter profile of the Perseverance lists “Photography, collecting rocks and offroading” as the rover’s hobbies. That’s so clever!
Every evening, I go onto the website and find out what happened during Perseverance’s day. I look at the pictures and show them to youth on the inpatient unit and in the school where I work. I remind everyone, “If humans can build this and use it to do sophisticated research, we can do anything!”
A feat as amazing as building a vehicle that can roam around another planet is a reminder to youth to dream big, to hope for a tomorrow that fulfills their wildest dreams. It is also a reminder that everyone who participated in this project was once their age, being reminded by their mother to remember their lunch and to make their bed.
On the Perseverance, there are small reminders of the humanity of the people who built her. There is that Twitter profile. You can take a picture of yourself on the surface of Mars or send your name to Mars. On the back of the vehicle are symbols of all the “members” of the “Rover family”.
NASA’s website makes information about Perseverance accessible. NASA knows that this work is the stuff of our dreams and the future of space exploration – of all science – depends on educating today’s youth to dream of new scientific discoveries.
If knowing that you might be able to build a vehicle that goes to Mars to pave the way for human visits is what convinces you to study math and science, maybe you will work on 2050’s flight to another galaxy.
Maybe you will work on something else, like a new energy source, engine, or vaccine.
If you can dream, the sky is a promise, not a limit.
(This photo is taken by NASA – it is NOT a Perseverance selfie.)